Parenting time versus custody


Parenting time or custodySome states are dropping the term “custody” in favor of “parenting time.”  One view on this is that the term “custody” can have negative implications.

In other words, if at the conclusion of a divorce or child custody matter, one party is giving “sole” or “joint” custody, the thought is that these labels can be counter-productive.  For example, a parent who is on the short end of a “sole” physical and/or legal custody award might be put off by this designation.

As a result, the thought is that many parents might end up litigating their divorce or child custody matter to get a more beneficial label.  This is why some states are replacing the label of “custody” altogether in favor of the term “parenting time.”  The term “visitation” is also found taboo in some places as well.

In the eyes of many, these terms (“custody” and “visitation)” can seem harsh and judgmental in terms of addressing children and parenting.  Instead, the thought is that family courts should simply allocate parenting time and decision-making between the parents.

In states that adopt this approach, the courts are able to assign parental responsibilities as well.  This means that the family court can assign specific responsibilities to the parents in terms of health care, education, extracurricular or other matters.  Instead of having scenarios where one party has sole custody and is able to make all decisions, or joint custody where both parties have to agree, the court could theoretically piece-meal the decision-making out.

This means that one parent could be in charge of making health care decisions.  The other parent might be in charge of making educational decisions, etc.  Instead of one parent having sole physical, the parties would then be awarded parenting time.

Illinois is a state that adopted legislation that fits this format regarding parenting time. This is in contrast to Missouri where designations of sole and joint physical custody still exist.  The question that is out there is which method is preferable?  In many ways, the verdict is still out, but this is still a trend on the rise nonetheless.

If you are going through a divorce or family law matter where custody or parenting time is at issue, Stange Law Firm, PC can help.  You can call us at 1-855-805-0595.

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